Lately it seems wherever you turn, you either hear about the Rio Olympics or you see it on TV. I’m not complaining. I find it inspiring to see so many topnotch athletes performing at their best.
But did you ever wonder what it would be like if pirates held their own Olympics? I can’t help but think it would be an exciting event well worth watching.
If I was organizing the event, I would have eight categories. First, there would be the sword and cutlass events. The first part would consist of polishing and honing a sword or cutlass. (Swords are more for piercing; cutlasses are more for slashing though you can do both with either.)
Each pirate would be given a dull, rusty blade and his job would be to turn it into a thing of beauty that every other pirate would want to steal.
Since this event is in the nascent stages, I’m still working out the details like how to prevent a bunch of pirates who had too much rum to keep from cutting themselves. In the end, the sword that pirates try to steal the most gets the gold. And you know how pirates love gold.
The next event requires each pirate to draw a treasure map. You heard that X marks the spot. Can you imagine a pirate marking a hundred X’s on his map? A stolen map would be worthless to the pilferer.
And before you object to pirates stealing at the Olympics, I want to remind you that they’re pirates. They’re supposed to steal from each other. In fact, if they failed to steal anything during the events, they’d be disqualified.
Another event would require everyone to design their own pirate flag. The only stipulation is that it’s designed on cloth. One pirate new to the trade actually flew an old piece of burlap because that was all he had. As time went on he got better.
Imagine the possibilities pirates could come up with after a couple of rum and Cokes. A treasure chest on a field of pink. My grand daughter would love that. Or picture a skull and crossbones on a rainbow background. I bet that would bring a smile to the faces of a lot of men and women in the gay community. Aarrrrgh!
Pirates are often given a bad rap about their hygiene- and some might well deserve it. In this next event, pirates are given a bar of soap and required to wash up. Drop the soap, and you’re automatically disqualified.
Of course, the only way to prevent cheating is to make everyone wash before the audience. I suppose this might offend some people’s sense of modesty, but the event could be broadcast late at night. Besides with the sophisticated equipment TV producers have, they can block out any body parts that may dangle into view.
The most problematic part of this event are the pirates allergic to soap and water. These, of course, would be eliminated from competition.
The next event is the treasure chest event. First, pirates would have to find things to fill it up. Again these items would have to be stolen, so I would encourage visitors to hang onto their wallets. Among things that could go into it might include gold and silver medals other competitors have won, stop watches of judges, press badges, earrings- pirates love these- and pirated CD’s and DVD’s. These shouldn’t be too hard to come by especially if anyone in the audience has been to China lately or shopped on the internet.
Once the chests are filled with booty, the participants will be required to bury their chests in the sand. The danger here is one or more pirates might fall into the hole and get buried too.
Next is the uniform competition. Pirates would have to dress like… well, pirates. Eye patch, ruffled shirt, jacket, sword, a bandolier of pistols, and of course, a tricorn hat. The common pirate of yesteryear didn’t really wear tricorn hats. Those are the three-sided hats you see in movies. Most pirates opted for a skull cap or bandana since a stiff ocean breeze would have sent headgear sailing overboard.
Speaking of overboard, the next competition is the gangplank. You’ve heard the stories about how victims were made to walk them. Well, the stories are largely untrue. So pirates can appreciate being on the receiving end of things for a change, they would be forced to walk it. The winner would be based on two things: how long he lasts, and how gracefully he goes overboard.
The final competition is loading the cannon. This isn’t as simple as it sounds. First, you have to make sure there’s nothing inside the cannon before loading it. On a ship inhabited by pirates, you never know what you’re going to find. Empty beer cans, bottles of rum, maybe even an empty bag of potato chips. Oh, wait! That’s my house!
Once the cannon’s cleared of debris, pirates get to pack it with incendiary material- that can be a dangerous challenge for pirates whose breakfast consists of rum and orange juice minus the orange juice, of course.
Next comes the cannon balls. It sounds easier than it is. Did you know on one ship attacked by pirates, the defenders went to load the cannon balls into the big guns but failed because the balls were too big? You’d think you’d need big balls to fight pirates, but obviously it’s not always the case.
The final part of the competition involves lighting the fuse which can be a challenge. First you have to find a pirate with a steady hand. Next you need someone with matches that aren’t saturated with sweat and rum.
For the pirate team that can overcome all these obstacles, well… let’s just say they’re going to have a blast.
I hope you get a chance to see some of the Rio Olympics before it’s all over. And remember the next time you’re out in public, if you see someone wearing an eye patch or a hook, be kind to him. He may be preparing for the next Olympics. Just hold onto your wallet and your earrings.
The Uncommon Mariner